Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines

Art versus amusement: what do photos allow people to do?

Hua, Fan

In: Revue Tranel, 2018, vol. 68, p. 113-119

When discussing the aesthetic reaction, Vygotsky used a formula as an explanation: in a work of art, the form is always in conflict with the content, and the artist always overcomes content with form. Vygotsky unfolded the formula mostly in literature, however, he claimed that the formula can be applied to all other art forms. In this article, Vygotsky's formula is employed to photography.... More

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    Summary
    When discussing the aesthetic reaction, Vygotsky used a formula as an explanation: in a work of art, the form is always in conflict with the content, and the artist always overcomes content with form. Vygotsky unfolded the formula mostly in literature, however, he claimed that the formula can be applied to all other art forms. In this article, Vygotsky's formula is employed to photography. Through analyzing the dialectic contradiction between form and content in roll film snapshots and digital photos, we have reached the conclusion that photos could be a medium of art, where the contrasting feelings of ephemerality and permanence, nostalgia and modernity, proximal experiences and distal experiences meet each other. When less emotion and imagination are involved, photos could also be reduced to a medium of amusement. And the available medium to a culture has a significant influence on cultural and social preoccupations.